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Morne Morkel Bows Out of International Cricket

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 April 2018, 15:34 IST

Ask South African fans what they think about Morne Morkel and you will hear many different views. They will vary from describing him as sublime, brutal, inconsistent and wayward. There have been few South Africa bowlers who divide opinion like the man they call ‘Big Bird’. How opposition batsmen feel about Morkel retiring is the question that matters. The answer from across the board would be that they are unequivocally grateful. Morne Morkel was a menace to face. 
Former Australian batsman Marcus North said he was the South African bowler that caused him the most trouble; high praise for a bowling attack that also consisted of Steyn and Ntini. Retired Aussie quick Ryan Harris, meanwhile, described Morkel as the bowler he most hated facing. When Andrew Strauss picked his all-time XI, he included Morkel, saying “he’s a bowler I had a huge amount of trouble against."
The list of batsmen out there who hated facing Morkel is a lengthy one. It seems Morkel was more respected by his peers than the fans. Morkel’s work often went under the radar as the others picked up the plaudits. He would chip in with a few key wickets but never steal the headlines. 
Steve Waugh summed up the situation when he said Morkel "was one of the most underrated players in the world." Maybe he was too nice for a fast bowler that left fans unsure if he possessed the killer instinct. It seems unlikely as this was the same bowler that broke the arms of Ross Taylor and Michael Clarke. Morkel was a gentleman but also a fierce competitor. 
Morkel bowed out at the Wanderers after enjoying a successful last series. Picking up nine wickets in the Newlands test which arguably won South Africa the series. So many international sportsmen don’t retire when they should. They often prolong the inevitable and in doing so go out when they’re far from being at the peak of their powers. In a refreshing change, Morkel goes out at the top of his game. 
South Africa’s loss is Surrey’s gain as Morkel has signed a Kolpak deal with the club. Having Morkel in the Surrey ranks will give them a great chance of winning the County Championship. Surrey are currently 5/1 in cricket betting to win it and Morkel is sure to be one of the series's leading wicket-takers. 
As the South African sun sets on Morkel’s career, you get the feeling he will leave a bigger hole than ever imagined. The lanky quick has enjoyed 11 years with the Proteas and given everything he has for the cause. He leaves with the conveyer belt of South African fast bowlers producing like never before. It is time for the next Morkel to come forward. 
The gentle giant walks off into the sun with his wife and young family with his head held high. The footprint he leaves on South African cricket is huge. 

First published: 12 April 2018, 13:15 IST